The UEFA Champions League is taking a break now due to the World Cup in Qatar. We have all the Round of 16 pairs, with the draw held quickly following the final games of the group stage.
Immediately, the debate about the upcoming stage and the outcomes of the games in it. According to the Champions League predictions made by various analysts and pundits, there are a few teams who are massive favorites to reach the quarterfinals, but on the other side, a few matchups are extremely close.
To start with, the most intriguing two are PSG vs. Bayern and Liverpool vs. Real Madrid. Both of these matchups had been seen in the recent UCL finals, one in 2019 and the other last season.
Bayern won its last European title by beating PSG 1-0, and that was in Lisbon the year, which was stopped due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The draw put these units together again now, only much earlier. Both the French and the German champs have been among the biggest contenders for snatching the trophy, but one has to end its journey here.
Judging by the current form, Bayern looks better, but who knows what will happen in February. The Bavarians have a system, and they play following the same, while PSG improvises and relies upon individual quality. We expect high efficiency from these two games, with plenty of goals on both ends of the field.
Liverpool and Real met last year in the finals, and Los Blancos beat the Reds 1-0, which was the second time they trashed the English powerhouse in the finals with Klopp as the head coach. Liverpool had a disastrous first half of the year, and they pretty much lost all the chances to win the EPL title. On the other side, Real is doing just fine, playing fantastic football and once again being the top favorite for all the trophies.
Though, we all know that Liverpool plays its best football when there is no pressure on them and when they enter the contests as underdogs. This should be a fun game to watch, but when it comes to giving Champions League picks, it is very challenging. High efficiency should be involved, too, and for the moment, Real has a 60% chance of advancing.
Manchester City is an absolute favorite against the unstable RB Leipzig, and the English champs should eliminate the Germans without too many problems. With Haaland fully healthy and rested (because he won’t be participating in the World Cup), everyone expects to see the Citizens rolling over the Bulls.
Dortmund will play against Chelsea. Even though some believe that this contest might be a close one, we don’t share the same opinion. Borussia’s football this year is average, and their group was pretty easy to handle. Chelsea showed more character, and they should be better than the Millionaires.
Napoli is in the same position against Eintracht Frankfurt, with the Germans being a far inferior side. Last year’s UEFA Europa League winners won’t stand a chance against Napoli’s fierce attack, which is probably the best in Europe.
Inter and Porto could provide maybe the closest battle of all. Nerazzurri have a bigger and more sounding name, but Porto’s chemistry and the current quality put them neck-to-neck with the Italians. The chances are 50-50 here, and the only reason we give the Dragons the slightest possible edge is that they have the home-court advantage.
Club Brugge and Benfica present the weakest pair of the Round of 16. The Eagles won the top spot in their group ahead of PSG, while Brugge had a superb start but lost the pace later. The Portuguese side is the favorite to advance to the next stage.
And finally, AC Milan meets Tottenham. The Spurs have Antonio Conte, who knows Italian football and who will for sure find a way to utilize the home-court advantage over the solid Rossoneri, who don’t have the quality to endanger the Spurs.
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